Renewable energy has become a popular topic, with more people making the switch to renewables whenever possible. But why is it important? In short, it can have lasting effects on the climate, environment, and even your own finances. Renewable energy is a clean, abundant source of energy that can have dramatic effects on the planet in positive ways. By staying informed and choosing renewable energy, you can contribute to that future. Here’s a primer on why renewable energy is so important for the Earth’s future.
What is Renewable Energy?
Renewable energy is derived from natural resources like the sun, wind, water, and even the Earth’s internal heat. While fossil fuels are also created from natural products, renewable resources will never run out. They are available on a daily basis and will remain available for the lifetime of the planet. Through the use of generators, such as solar panels and wind turbines, renewable resources can be transformed into usable energy for entire cities or just single buildings. Renewable energy is also clean, meaning that it does not release greenhouse gasses or other harmful emissions.
The majority of the world receives its energy through nonrenewable resources. These include fossil fuels and oil, which must be extracted from the Earth. These processes can be harmful to the environment and habitats. There are finite amounts of nonrenewable resources within the Earth, and they cannot be replenished for hundreds of years. They also release greenhouse gasses, cause smog, and contribute to global climate change, among other harmful effects.
Minimizing Climate Change
The effects of renewable energy on climate change are one of their major benefits. As fossil fuels are burned, they emit high levels of greenhouse gasses and other pollutants. These emissions bring on changes in temperature, which can have devastating effects for animals and people alike. As sea levels rise due to ice cap melt, for example, fish migrate away from their usual habitats to survive, leaving many coastal communities without a source of income. Renewable energy, meanwhile, produces little to no emissions. In fact, making the switch to renewable over nonrenewable energy can help reverse the effects of climate change by helping to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
Renewable resources will never run out, making them easily accessible to people across the world. Those in more arid climates may benefit from solar energy, while people living in windy and cloudy areas can install wind turbines instead. The variety of energy options available makes it easier than ever for people to access it, as does the continuing decline in the price of renewable energy generators and the resulting power. Fossil fuels will run out in the coming decades, and if the world does not adapt to new sources of energy, we may be left without viable power sources that can meet the populations energy needs.
Making the switch to renewable energy also reduces dependence on fossil fuels. This helps limit the amount of drilling and habitat disruption that must be undertaken to extract fossil fuels, protecting the environment. It also reduces the cost of energy. When oil and gas do not need to be imported from overseas and can instead be produced close to the communities in which it will be used, consumers can pay less for their energy usage.
Starting a company within the energy providing sector has usually required large amounts of money, equipment for drilling or operating a refinery, and the ability to transport fuel. With renewable energy, however, the startup costs for a similar business decline rapidly. Instead of heavy machinery and refineries, energy companies can be started with turbines and power lines. The amount of technology needed to use renewable energy efficiently — such as solar panels, geothermal generators, and turbines — also provides an area in which people can begin researching and developing new models. Together, these opportunities for competition promote innovation at a faster pace. They also support lower costs for consumers as companies strive to provide high-quality services for the lowest price possible.
Stay Informed about the Importance of Renewable Energy
Research into effective forms of renewable energy and the development of new clean energy products continues to grow, with innovations happening at a rapid pace. Keeping up with new developments in renewable energy can help you become a more informed consumer. This, in turn, can provide you with the information you need to select the best renewable energy solutions for your needs. Being an educated consumer also means that you will be able to explain the benefits of renewable energy and processes needed to obtain it for your community to other interested groups, potentially encouraging others to make the switch and do their part to protect the environment.